Sengyo vs Katsugyo: Meaning in Japanese

Have you ever heard of “Sengyo Sushi (鮮魚寿司)”?

Sengyo Sushi literally refers to sushi consisting of vinegared rice “Shari (しゃり)” topped with a slice of Sengyo.

Sengyo Sushi

In addition to Sengyo, in Japan “Katsugyo (活魚)” are also rarely prepared as ingredients for sushi and sashimi.

Meaning: Sengyo vs Katsugyo

As you can guess by now, Sengyo and Katsugyo are both Japanese words for “fish”, but what is the difference in meaning between them? Today, for people who are interested, let me explain that.

Sengyo (鮮魚)


First off, Sengyo is actually the Japanese word for “fresh dead fish” soon after being caught, specifically after the rigor mortis.

Katsugyo (活魚)


In contrast, Katsugyo are fishes that are alive, specifically until the rigor mortis. Sushi restaurants offering Katsugyo usually have fish tanks called “Ikesu (生簀)” on the floor.

Ikesu Fish Tank

(Reference Pages: Wikipedia 活魚, 鮮魚 )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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